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Topic: trauma-induced self-sabotaging tendencies are affecting my relationship again. Help?

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. Guest_236
    Guest_236 avatar
    6 posts
    22 June 2021

    Hi there! I'll get straight into it.

    4 years ago I was in an emotionally neglectful relationship. That was the year I experienced my lowest point (thus far). I was heavily depressed, s*lf h*rming and s**cidal... And I received little to no support from my boyfriend at the time, but would have a mental breakdown every time I tried to break up. After dating for a total of almost 2 years, we broke up. Despite this, I don't resent him at all. We were young and it was both our first relationship. We grew so much from it. I wouldn't be who I am today without him, and he would say the same. I've received closure and I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. We're still good friends.

    Nevertheless, the trauma of being alone through the darkest time of my life is still there. It's been years and I still can't fall out of self-preserving patterns of self sabotage. It mostly affects my romantic relationships. All the ones I've had since my first boyfriend, in fact. I'd always try to "quit while I'm ahead" to keep them from hurting me, or vice versa. I'd drop everything at the first sign of things not working out.

    I've been dating my current boyfriend since the start of 2019. He has the most beautiful heart. He's caring and empathetic and funny and passionate and smart and selfless and genuine. He's my best friend. He's stuck by me through my many depressive seasons and countless self-sabotaging episodes. We've taken breaks to see other people or work on ourselves since then, but we always came back to each other. I really could not ask for someone more supportive.

    I've improved a lot over the years, but self-sabotaging tendencies have started emerging again with my recent depressive episode and the nearing of the HSC. Whenever he chooses studies over me, I feel I'm a hindrance to his goals. When he chooses me over studies, I worry that he's sacrificing his grades out of worry for me. He's trying to balance both, and would do so effortlessly if I wasn't so problematic. I've started to distance myself from him, a common self-sabotaging reaction of mine. I'm afraid this dynamic will continue into uni, especially since he's planning on studying a pretty strenuous degree.

    I don't want to be a liability. I don't want to ruin things again.

    We've talked about this. He's as supportive and reassuring as usual, and we've thought of some strategies together. But I want to try harder, because I know it's a me problem. Suggestions? Tips + tricks? #Epic life hacks?

  2. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2996 posts
    23 June 2021 in reply to Guest_236

    Hi Guest_236,

    Welcome welcome and thank you for joining us.

    I'll get straight into it too :)

    Unfortunately, I don't have any #Epic life hacks. (haha) I wish I did, because then it would stop things being so painful, as I can very much relate to what you are going through.

    It is a real strength on your part to be able to recognise these patterns and thoughts that are coming up in your relationship- so often it can be automatic and it's not until it's too late that we realise we self-sabotaged.

    What's worked for me here is to learn to be okay with vulnerability. This is by far the hardest thing that I've done in my relationship, but it's what's gotten be through. To know that yes, there is a chance that your relationship could end, in the same way that if you didn't have this trauma, there is always a chance that any relationship can end. But we have to invest it in anyway, hoping the reward is worth the risk.

    I understand that you don't want to be alone and there is a fear in doing so - it's totally valid. But at the same time I think it's important to know (and feel), that even if you were alone and your worst case scenario came true, you would be okay. That you do actually have the strength to get through this.

    I hope this makes sense; it can be super helpful to have a chat with a therapist if that's something that you are open to. It's not easy but I can see from your post that you are insightful and have the self-awareness to get through this.

    rt

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Guest_236
    Guest_236 avatar
    6 posts
    23 June 2021 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Hi rt,

    Thanks for your response! It was really reassuring and grounding.

    "...yes, there is a chance that your relationship could end, in the same way that if you didn't have this trauma, there is always a chance that any relationship can end." This really helped :')

    I'll keep doing my best to trust in my partner, as well as trust in myself to be self-aware and proactive. You're right, the reward will be worth the risk.

    Have a great day :>

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